PINK feather boas and Flamingo costumes brought a splash of colour to Southend’s Garon Park as more than 1,900 runners took on the Race for Life.

The women and children refused to let the grim weather dampen their spirits as they completed the 5km course at Garon Park, off Eastern Avenue.

A total of 1,953 runners took part, raising an estimated £127,500 for Cancer Research UK.

Gill Burgess, event manager, said: “We are really pleased with this year’s turnout.

“We always get a really good response from the ladies in Southend.

“We often see the same faces, which goes to show just howmuch support we have here.

“We also have really supportive volunteers and there has been a great atmosphere here today.

“Team Essex are amazing.”

Before the race at 11am, there was a mass aerobics warm-up routine.

At the end of the race women were encouraged to grab the hand of the person next to them as a show of unity.

Sisters Zoe Smith, 35, and Cara Herman, 41, from Westcliff, were taking part for their dad, who is battling cancer.

Zoe said: “It was a really nice atmosphere when you were on the track and people were cheering you on. It helps you keep going.

“It’s also really nice that everyone dresses up and has some fun. It kind of takes away from the sad side of cancer.”

First over the line was Katie Spicer, 35, who runs for Leigh Striders running club. She won in 19 minutes. She said: “It is the first time I have taken part in the event and I am running for my friend’s husband.

“I am really pleased to have come first. This is a brilliant event and there is an amazing atmosphere here today.”

Katie was closely followed by eight-year-old Freddie Hockey, from Rayleigh. Boys are allowed to race as long as they are under 12.

Since 1994, more than five million women have helped raise more than £362million for Cancer Research UK.

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Gill Burgess added: “The money will help a lot of people.

“It will go for clinical trials and will pay for drugs. It will save lives, so it is fantastic.”

Natasha Dickinson, head of Race for Life, said: “Race for Life is something that is emotional and precious to the women who take part as cancer touches the lives of so many people.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re seven or 70, if you are really fit, or don’t like running at all.

“Race for Life is about all women, coming together, inspiring each other and uniting for one cause – raising money to beat cancer.”

To see a gallery of more pictures from the Race for Life event in Southend click here